miRNA regulatory networks: biology and pathology

microRNAs (miRNAs), a large class of short non-coding RNAs found in many plants and animals, are post-transcriptional regulators of gene expression. Approximately 3% of all known human genes encode miRNAs. Important functions for miRNAs in animal development and physiology are emerging. A number of miRNAs have been directly implicated in human disease. We have generated loss-of-function mutations in almost all of the ~120 known miRNA genes in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. This collection provides the only comprehensive resource for the genetic analysis of individual miRNAs to date. Our main goal is to understand the genetic networks underlying miRNA-dependent control. One particular focus is on miRNAs and pathways relating to human cancer.